X-Message-Number: 14
From: Kevin Q. Brown
Subject: CSNY meeting notes
Date: 26 Aug 1988

The ALCOR NYC Discussion Group (Cryonics Society of New York) meets the third
Saturday of each month and  the latest meeting was on Sat. Aug. 20.  Two
interesting topics came up at that meeting that I would like to pass on to you.

A new (biological) specimen preservation process called "plastination" has been

patented in Germany by Gunther von Hagens.  It involves injecting liquid plastic
into the specimen (in a vacuum) in a way that also removes the water.  It halts
decay and keeps the specimen looking quite natural, at room temperature.
Reportedly, the specimens are also preserved well at the electron-microscopic
level.  One person at the meeting showed a human brain slice (obtained from
Carolina Biological) that was preserved using plastination.

What does this have to do with cryonics?  If a process of this type could
possibly preserve a person's brain (at room temperature) approximately as well
as cryonic suspension does (at liquid nitrogen temperature), then it would
have enormous advantages.  You would no longer need an organization that
painstakingly (and expensively) maintains you at liquid nitrogen temperature
for decades or centuries.  You could instead be safely stored conventionally
and cheaply.

Somehow this sounds too good to be true.  Can plastination possibly create
sufficient cross-linking to slow room-temperature chemical reactions to the
same rate as in liquid nitrogen temperature preservation without that
cross-linking?  I would be surprised.  Nevertheless, if plastination does
become a viable approach to preservation of a person's memory/personality,
then it would be silly to pass it up.  More information on plastination will
be provided at the next CSNY meeting (on Sat. Sept. 17).

Save Your Pets.  They May Save You.
The information used to reconstruct you from cryonic suspension may not
necessarily all come from your brain.  For example, some memories may be
"weak" upon reanimation and may need some extra assistance, such as a
videotape of you or some personal notes that you had written, to put them
firmly back into place.  Also, everyone who knows you has a great deal of
information about you, much of it unconscious.  Thus, having your friends
and family cryonically suspended may also improve the quality of your
reanimation, because extracting their information about you may provide
clues to help improve the fidelity of your reconstruction.  And if the
information about you embodied in your friends and family can help, then
why not your pets, too?

                                       - Kevin Q. Brown

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